The now online-only Creme mag exists within some complicated tensions in my memory. The NZ teen magazine, which was in print from 1999-2014, was a youthful, sugary dive into celebrity news, popstar interviews, fashion forecasting, beauty tips, and advice columns.
Everytime I visited my local library, I’d rip the dog-eared Creme magazines from the shelf. The glossy pages were filled with borderline biblical information, and I would often reread and memorise sections to talk to friends about. I’d especially pour carefully over ‘What’s Your Problem?’ advice columns, where self-conscious letters would be answered with thoughtful guidance, quelling some of my tween and teen anxieties.
Reading through the mag felt like this opportunity to aid my early construction of identity, and I’m sure that I internalised both the good and slightly problematic materials of each copy. Certain parts of the magazine now feel like instructions for succeeding in feminine displays—mostly through consumption or in appealing to teen boys. Retrospectively, it’s also clear that the pages are also informed by normative, reductive assumptions of the readership’s identities.
It’s clear that social media has now stepped into the space left behind by Creme. It’s easy to feel nostalgic for the teen magazine, though it’s clear they were plagued by lots of the same issues and content we worry about now.
Some awhs, and some big yikes.